Artists of Utah News

Utah’s 15: Round 2

Artists from Utah’s 15 (round 1): (top row) Frank McEntire, Anne Cullimore Decker, Stephen Goldsmith, Ruby Chacon, Terry Tempest Williams (middle row) Joan Woodbury, Paul Davis, Brad Slaugh, Anna Campbell Bliss, Bonnie Phillips (bottom row) Sam Wilson, Sandy Brunvand, Brian Kershisnik, Trent Alvey, John Erickson.


UTAH’S 15, our program to recognize and honor the state’s most influential artists, RETURNS. And we need your help.

It was five years ago. Laura Durham had an idea: ask people to think about who they felt were the state’s most influential artists.

At the time, Durham was working as an arts administrator for the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. She was tired of always having to justify or defend the arts community, so she wanted to get people thinking about how artists have influenced the cultural landscape in Utah. Utah’s 15 was born.

We asked the public for nominations for the honor, saying, “these are not necessarily the ‘hottest’ artists, they are not the most ‘honored’ artists, but these are the artists who make a difference in Utah.” We left it to the public to decide what they felt “influential” meant. We wanted these artists to be nominated by their peers, those that, as we said at the time, “see the ‘every day’ situations and projects our artists engage in. Artists are not only thinkers and creators; they are collaborators, builders and leaders.”

We received almost 100 nominations. We then asked a pool of 200 people — artists, writers, administrators, patrons — to winnow the list down to fifteen.

At the beginning of 2014, we held an exhibition to honor the artists at Rio Gallery (it was, to put it mildly, packed). We also published a book telling the stories of these artists (it sold out).

Five years later, we’re back with round 2 of Utah’s 15.  Once again, we’re asking you, our readers, to tell us,

Who are the most influential artists in the state?

Influence takes many forms, and we’ll leave it up to you to argue for how your nominee has been influential. We embrace all artistic fields from the visual and literary to the performing arts.

To nominate an artist, please email the following, with the subject heading “Utah’s 15” to editor@artistsofutah.org:
Your Name

Your Email

Biographical Information about the Artist

Links to relevant websites, articles or other information about the artist.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Please provide us at least one paragraph describing why YOU think this artist has been influential on the cultural landscape of our state. Artistic value is important, but we hope you’ll also identify other ways they have been influential.

Nominations must be received by May 1.

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Some of the profiles from the 2014 publication Utah’s 15: The State’s Most Influential Artists have already been made available online. During the month of March we will be making the remainder available. Go to the tag Utah’s 15 to read the profiles.

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3 replies »

  1. Partial confirmation of your opinion of Paul Davis lies in his having been selected for the first Utah’s 15 group five years ago. That said, if I understand correctly, that makes him ineligible for this year’s selection. I think what the folks at 15 Bytes are looking for is nominees from the thousands of artists who were not chosen already. Meanwhile, fans of Davis can read about him in Shawn Rossiter’s essay, available on line or in the published version. In the event that you don’t have the book, unfortunately it’s no longer in print or available from the publisher. In order not to be caught short next time, everyone is urged to get one (or more) copies of the next one before they, too, sell out.

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